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Photograph of British soldiers during the Korean War

Korea 1950–53: The Cold War’s Hot War

Last updated: 4 September 2013

Now Open - Level 4 Corridor

Marking the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, this display examines the role of the British Army during the first and only United Nations (UN) war to date.

Korea 1950-53 online exhibition

Using personal objects, archives, and media sources, 'Korea 1950–53: The Cold War's Hot War' explores the personal experience of the soldiers involved and the far-reaching legacy of the conflict.

The display touches on key issues relating to the conflict, including the challenging terrain and changeable climate in which the troops were fighting and the limited resources available in the wake of the Second World War.

Highlights include:

  • Displayed for the first time, razor blades, spoon, mirror and toothpaste given to Private James Wood whilst he was a prisoner of war.
  • A cotton handkerchief printed with Chinese communist messages which provides an insight into the ways propaganda messages were delivered to Allied troops.
  • A PPSh-41 sub-machine gun supplied by the Russians and used by Chinese communist forces against the Allies, demonstrating the wider context of the conflict between the great powers of the time.
  • A reproduction of the nurse's cloak worn by Lieutenant Georgina Johnstone displaying the regimental badges from the troops she tended, which highlights the wider contribution of the Commonwealth forces.


Stephen Bank
9 May 2013, 2.16pm

Good that you remember this

Good that you remember this very important, large, bloody, yet neglected serious war. The museum, research library, & paintings, art, are all the best. I have been coming since you opened! Keep up your good work.

Martin Sterrow
24 September 2013, 2.32pm

I have great interest in the

I have great interest in the Korea War during the early 50’s, as my Father was in active service in Korea during that time as a CO.

Margaret Malcolm nee Hine
21 April 2014, 8.05am

Very interested in this

Very interested in this topic. My father Ian was apparently featured on Pathe News as I believe, 'One of the first British troops to land in Korea' - prior to being wounded. He was loath to talk about the war and made a joke of the news reel as not in the least factual!

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